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Where gastronomic diversity meets local flavours

Slovenia - European Region of Gastronomy 2021

In 2018, at a ceremony as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels, Slovenia was awarded the official title of European Region of Gastronomy 2021.

The title of European Region of Gastronomy is more than a mere tool of promoting national cuisine and gastronomy. Through its effects it seeks to promote sustainable development and gastronomic tourism, to support local self-sufficiency, link the countryside and urban areas, and underline the importance of food for health. 

Within the European Union Slovenia has protected several agricultural products and foods with protected geographical indication and traditional speciality guaranteed labels. Ever since the end of the 18th century the kranjska klobasa (Carniolan sausage) has been one of the most famous Slovenian culinary brands. The protected foods with geographical designation include kraški pršut (Karst ham), kraški zašink (Karst neck) and kraška panceta (Karst bacon), zgornjesavinski želodec (Upper Savinja stomach), prleška tünka (Prlekija minced pork), štajersko prekmursko bučno olje (Styria/Prekmurje pumpkin seed oil), ptujski luk (Ptuj onion), kokošja jajca izpod Kamniških planin (Kamnik mountain eggs), štajerski hmelj (Styrian hops) and slovenski med (Slovenian honey).

There are also three cheeses with protected designation of origin, tolminc, bovški sir and the spicy bohinjski mohant. The list also includes piranska sol s solnim cvetom (Piran salt with fleur de sel), kočevski gozdni med (Kočevje forest honey), kraški med (Karst honey), istrski pršut (Istrian prosciutto), and ekstra deviško olje slovenske Istre (extra virgin olive oil from Slovenian Istria).

Piran salt with fleur de sel

There are also three cheeses with protected designation of origin, tolminc, bovški sir and the spicy bohinjski mohant. The list also includes piranska sol s solnim cvetom (Piran salt with fleur de sel), kočevski gozdni med (Kočevje forest honey), kraški med (Karst honey), istrski pršut (Istrian prosciutto), and ekstra deviško olje slovenske Istre (extra virgin olive oil from Slovenian Istria).
The traditional speciality guaranteed indication is boasted by belokranjska pogača (Bela Krajina cake), prekmurska gibanica (Prekmurje layer cake) and idrijski žlikrofi (Idrija dumplings). The main culinary symbol of Slovenia, potica, is a festive round cake that is rolled and features various fillings.

Prekmurje layer cake
Festive round cake Potica.

Slovenia is also a green, boutique wine-growing country. The wide range of Slovenian wine comprises those from the three wine-growing regions: Primorje, Posavje and Podravje. In Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city, a  žametovka (velvet) vine that is over 450-years old still grows and bears fruit every year, and is proven to be the oldest vine in the world. It produces 40 kilograms of grapes per year, which are used to produce ceremonial wine.
The main culinary events in Slovenia include the Festival of Easter Potica at Otočec, Odprta kuhna (Open Kitchen) in Ljubljana, Vinska vigred (Wine Spring) in Metlika, Cherry Holiday in Brda, Festival Lent in Maribor, Ljubljana Wine Road, Beer and Flowers in Laško, Honey Days in Polhov Gradec, the Saltmaking Festival in Piran, Sweet Istria, Traditional Chestnut Holiday in Lig nad Kanalom, Slovenian Potica Day in Bled and numerous Martinmas festivities across the country. These events show that Slovenia values it’s culinary traditions, and is happy to share them with the world.

Open Kitchen in Ljubljana

The patron of the Slovenian project European Region of Gastronomy 2021 is the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr Borut Pahor. The ambassadors of the project are the best female chef in the world, as selected by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, Ana Roš, who was also the World’s Best Female Chef 2017, Mira Šemić, a top Slovenian culinary and wine expert, one of the ten best chefs in Slovenia, Luka Košir, and Slovenian ethnologist Prof. Dr Janez Bogataj.

Ana Roš